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On World Oceans Day, the EU recalls the urgent need to address the immense challenges that our ocean is faced with, such as climate change, pollution, environmental degradation and unsustainable management of its resources.
The theme of this year’s World Oceans Day is “Preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean”.
The European Commission has recently tabled a proposal that will halt pollution from single use plastic items and derelict fishing gear. "With the help of EU citizens, our companies and innovators, our fishermen and fishing gear producers, we will be able to prevent marine litter at source," European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella explained.
The EU also remains firmly committed to the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In the light of EU Ocean week last year, the EU published a Communication on Ocean Governance setting 3 priority areas of work which provide a plan of action on both maritime security and environmental issues:
"With this Joint Communication, we confirm our engagement to be at the frontline in the implementation of the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, for the benefit of EU citizens and the whole world,” High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini had stated.
The Our Ocean Conference in Malta last year was co-hosted by High Representative Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Karmenu Vella. In the run up to lasts year’s conference, EU staff and their families took part in beach clean-ups to raise awareness about marine litter. In her opening speech at the conference Mogherini had said: "The sea is a global common. It is Our Ocean because it belongs to humanity, to each and every human being. We all have a responsibility to preserve what's common – to preserve it as a treasure and avoid that it turns into a threat."
The EU looks forward to the next edition of Our Ocean Conference in Bali, on 29-30 October, and will contribute to its success, by delivering on its promises and tabling new commitments.
The EU is doing and will keep doing its part. "On World Oceans Day, I want to send a positive message," Commissioner Vella said. "With our common fisheries policies, we are showing that sustainability and economic performance go hand in hand. In the North-east Atlantic, we have moved from 5 to 53 fish stocks at sustainable levels in less than a decade, while the net profit of our fishing fleet is reaching record highs. It shows that we can take care of our future, by taking care of our oceans."
Photo: AFP Forum